Digitally Archiving Architectural Models and Exhibition Designs: The Case of an Art Museum

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[Excerpt] In 2013, a medium-sized art museum located in the Northeast United States received a grant to plan for an electronic records repository. This museum will be referred to here as USAM for brevity. Working as the electronic records consultant on this project, the first major task was to research and inventory the electronic records being created and already existing at the museum, which necessitated scans of network storage, focus groups with departmental staff, and investigations of media included in the physical archives. In engaging in this research process, certain document types were expected, such as image files, word processed documents and spreadsheets. Although documents of these types were indeed plentiful, an extensive quantity of digitally produced two-dimensional drawings (2D) and three-dimensional models (3D) were found. Specifically, over 37,000 CAD drawings were unearthed during a network storage inventory project, as well as over 6,000 3D models. These files originate primarily in VectorWorks (and its predecessor MiniCAD), AutoCAD, and Rhinoceros. Given the quantity of digitally produced models and drawings existing at USAM, and the need to plan for an electronic records repository, this project is motivated by the following question: By what methods can two-dimensional CAD drawings (2D) and three-dimensional (3D) models be digitally archived for long term preservation and access? To answer this question, a review of the relevant literature is first presented, which explores the methods that have been developed for archiving architectural models and exhibition designs. Second, the study methods are presented, which include more detail on the context as well the archiving tests that were conducted. The paper concludes with results and conclusions regarding how architectural models and exhibitions designs are archived at USAM.

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Practical Technology for Archives
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Iss. 4
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2015-05
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digital archives; architecture models; exhibition designs; preservation
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